Tuesday 30 April 2024

GOP Senators Urge NPR To ‘Start A Course Correction’ Amid Left-Wing Bias Controversy

 A group of Republican senators reached out to National Public Radio (NPR), urging the network to “start a course correction” to shake off a left-wing bias controversy under the leadership of CEO Katherine Maher.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) led a letter sent to Maher on Monday, highlighting concerns raised by Uri Berliner, a longtime editor at NPR who resigned this month after he stoked fresh scrutiny of the media organization with claims that it “lost America’s trust” with an increasingly leftist bent.

“It is not NPR’s job to tell Americans what to think but to inform them with unbiased facts. Moreover, the internal cultural shifts and management decisions to prioritize ideological narratives do not just undermine your organization’s integrity; they have also alienated a significant portion of your audience,” the senators wrote in the letter.

“As Mr. Berliner points out, this has had tangible effects on NPR’s trust ratings and listener demographics, which have skewed increasingly away from any semblance of a broad, inclusive audience,” they added.

Berliner announced his resignation during a five-day suspension without pay over his critique of NPR. Although he pushed back on calls to defund NPR, Berliner said he could not work in a newsroom after being “disparaged by a new CEO whose divisive views confirm” the problems he cited.

Maher, who began serving as NPR’s chief executive in March, had condemned what she said was a “deeply simplistic” and “profoundly disrespectful, hurtful, and demeaning” assessment from Berliner.

Resurfaced posts and clips show Maher being critical of former President Donald Trump and supportive of President Joe Biden. They also displayed personal views in favor of liberal causes.

The GOP lawmakers specifically pointed to NPR’s handling of major news stories that Berliner flagged as being problematic, including issues related to the Hunter Biden laptop, the COVID-19 lab leak theory, and the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

They also noted Berliner’s finding that all of NPR’s editorial staffers in Washington, D.C., were registered Democrats.

“If NPR’s goal was to become an echo chamber, mission accomplished. But as a publicly funded entity, you are responsible for providing impartial coverage that accurately informs all Americans, regardless of political affiliation,” the senators said.

“We urge you to start a course correction to address these issues,” they added. “If NPR does not want to devolve into a one-sided opinion outlet, it should take a page from its local affiliates and embrace a culture of intellectual diversity and focus on balanced reporting.”

In addition to Cramer, the letter was signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

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